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Force Fed Democracy

Do we live in a binary world where everything is either all-good or all-bad? I think not! There are innumerable shades of grey in between. The problem with today's geo-political scenario is that the myriad shades of gray often present a very jarring set-up to peaceful co-existence.

There are 4 types of administrative mechanisms that drive national and trans-national politics: democratic, socialist, autocratic and religious.

Religious governance is most conspicuous in the middle-east, where Islamic code of conduct is applied on all and sundry. While some regimes impost strict interpretations of the Quran and simply refuse to inch forward in ensuring human values are being imposed, others are more moderate and tolerate some degree of liberty.

Socialism (closely associated with communism) is a failed institution. However, it's still a thriving dogma for the scant fanatics who still swear by it. Trying to seriously establish a utopian society where equality of the masses was ensured, it simply overlooked some common human individuality, competitive spirit and personal aspirations. This critical flaw was the downfall of this otherwise not-so-bad an institution. Communist regimes have created dictatorial monsters, widespread corruption, stifling of creativity and ingenuity, economic stagnation...and a lack of individual identity. Indeed, repression of the human desire is a common trait.

Autocracy in modern times has often been the offspring of communism, especially in modern times. The erstwhile Soviet Union, China, erstwhile Romania, Cuba and North Korea are all exemplifications of communism giving way to autocracy. And each bears the scars of human rights being grossly violated. Each bears testimonial to repression of the free will.

Democracy is by far the most fault-free institution of governance we've ever conceived for ourselves. Unfortunately, its principles are at odds with those of the others, resulting in a constant conflict of interests. The US has been an economic superpower primarily because its democratic fabric creates the right environs for the fledgling of individual and collective human creativity and ingenuity. While much of the rest of the world has been grappling under its own problems owing to flawed and archaic institutions of governance, the west has forged ahead refining and fine-tuning its democratic values.

Obviously, the disparity that springs from economic and political differences can be very insidious. Indeed, the west has often been a victim of its own success. The US is well aware of this, and has thus embarked on promulgating the virtues of democracy in nations that seem nowhere close to taking the initiative in embracing it. In its zealousness, it has often used alibis that have been very disruptive to regional strategies of the host nation. Sowing the seeds of democracy may be easy, but nurturing it and seeing to it that it's able to thrive on its own may be a different ballgame altogether. After all, when you have a civilization raised on principles that are alien to yours, it's difficult for them to appreciate your virtues. Paranoia is rampant.

The Bush administration has been on a hyperdrive trying to forcefully inject democratic values into archaic societies. The tribulations, not unexpectedly, have been innumerable. Bush bashing has become a popular pastime even in his home state. I personally believe the devil should be given his due. He may have come up with fanciful excuses for waging wars against Afghanistan and Iraq, but the idea behind inducing democratic values within until-now repressive regimes cannot be discounted.

Here's the problem: When you try to infuse values contrary to what an entire civilization has been fed upon, you'll be branded as an intruder trying to meddle in its internal allegation not entirely without merit. However, the widening rift between human rights being secured and violated creates serious disparities, something that will be a serious hindrance to global progress. To make matters worse, there'll be wisecracks who'll know precisely why you often fail in your endeavor...and advocate the middle path. Embrace his suggestion, and someone else springs up who'll be even smarter, concoct his own postulate and come up with his home-grown middlepath. It's a vicious cycle. Such people only add nuisance value and should be overlooked.

Bush may have assumed a very confrontational stance, but I feel more secure being guardianed by his clairvoyance.


Vivek said…
Liberating 'oppressed' peoples never pays. India has had it's Bangladesh .... the U.S. will soon have Iraq & Afghanistan to contend with.

It's a thankless task for countries like ours .... of course, the U.S. has it's own geo-strategic interests.
Deepanjan said…
Agreed...but only to some extent. If things are allowed to remain the way they are, there'll obvously be ramifications of immeasurably proportions. Disruptive intrusion is necessitated sometimes, there really is no other way. Global policing is a necessary evil...and the US is best equipped to wield the baton.
Vivek said…
I agree .... & I'm glad the U.S. is doing what it is.
Deepanjan said…
Ya...& I'm glad India is one of the few countries to use its discretion against the US when need be.
Anonymous said…
Democracy is the most flawed thought my friend,, controlled autocracy is far better, and believe me its soon going to come...and my friend P implies Q doesn't always mean -P implies -Q,
in Iraq context
Deepanjan said…
And who controls the autocrat? How do u control him? If u can control the autocrat, why not control the things he controls?
Thus democracy!
saurabh said…
We HAD "democracy" in Bihar for more than 15 years.
Anyway, before trumpeting the great job done by Bush i.e. liberating Iraq and Afganistan, u'll do better by having a look at a documentry called Fahrenheit911. I have its DVD if u want.
Deepanjan said…
Democracy has a soft underbelly. When imposed on uneducated people deprived of even the most basic amenities, it tends to be easily twisted and manipulated. What ensues is not democracy at all, but widespread anarchy and corruption under its garb.

The only solution to Bihar's chronic ailments is en masse education and an administrative system that's transparent.
Vivek said…
It was democracy that bought in Nitish Kumar. Lalu had mastered the art of caste politics & used it to the hilt during the 15 years he was in power, but ultimately the people saw through his game.

Democracy (especially with reference to cases like Bihar)allows you to fool most people most of the time, but as they say .... you can't fool all the people all the time.
Deepanjan said…
Absolutely! Given enough time to mature, nothing beats democracy.
saurabh said…
how different do u think is the case of Iraq and specially Afganistan in terms of "uneducated people deprived of even the most basic amenities"
Deepanjan said…
Taken in context of the quotation, very very different.

Bihar was just a tiny & flawed state whose administrative mechanism had gone haywire. However, it was still under the aegis of a centre that had its heart & mind in the right least theoretically.

The situation is totally different in Iraq & Afghanistan. There was no higher force (internal) to checking the widespread violation of human rights. Add to that the malady of all sorts of interpretations of Islam (in Afghanistan) and an omnipotent authority (Saddam Hussain) not answerable to anybody, busy indulging in ethnic cleansing.

We could make do without an America. Iraq & Afghanistan simply didn't have that luxury.
Vivek said…
I think most basic principles of Islam are at loggerheads with those of democracy. That explains it's absence in most Islamic countries. In light of this, the U.S. has it's task cut out in Iraq & Afghanistan.
Deepanjan said…
Agreed again. Democracy & Islam cannot coexist. It'll take us centuries to purge society of the curse of Islam.
Vivek said…
Curse of Islam! Man, you sound like one of those RSS types.
Deepanjan said…
No way. The RSS is yet another bunch of smalltime perverts.
Anonymous said…
Damn!! Missed all the fun agan!

A very good read, both the main article and the comments.

Is it possible to request you to write on a particular subject. If yes, could you write on the subject 'Corruption is the price that we have to pay for democracy.'
Deepanjan said…
Some food for thought!

Corruption is not exclusive to democracy...but a million minds thrive in it including those of the creatively corrupt. Given the luxury of thought, the perverts could see golden opportunities that would have otherwise been nonexistent.

But a mature social & democratic system would gradually put systems in place that would reduce the room for corruption to a great extent. The best instrument of social justice is not a court of law but transparency and accountability in all instruments of work.
Vivek said…
Sam, I don't think corruption is exclusive to democratic countries. Autocrats like Saddam & Ceaucescu were the worst when it comes to corruption.

Hey, Deep's written something almost exactly the same. Great minds think alike, what say Deep?
Anonymous said…
Actually, this was a GD topic at IIM-L this year.
I guess they wanted to hear something similar to what you guys have been discussing.
Deepanjan said…
I got tired of blogging about my pitiable life. And that's precisely why I deviated from the norm and decided to write on the first thing that came to mind.

I feel the main article was very hollow. Just manifests my despondency.

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